Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs


The national debate on governance has been framed as an eternal argument between those who think government is the problem and those that think that government is the solution. Bill Moyers has interviewed a wide-range of thinkers who paint a richer picture about government's possibilities, limitations and purpose.

Add your concerns and solutions to the map.

Grace Lee Boggs photo by Robin Holland
On bottom-up change: "I think we're not looking sufficiently at what is happening at the grassroots in the country. We have not emphasized sufficiently the cultural revolution that we have to make among ourselves in order to force the government to do differently. Things do not start with governments."

Watch Bill Moyers' full interview with Grace Lee Boggs.

Mickey Edwards photo by Robin Holland
On limiting the power of the executive branch: "I agree we need a strong president. We need one who has a vision. We need one who thinks and acts decisively. But we don't need a strong presidency. We need a presidency that operates within the constitution and within the separation of powers."

Watch Mickey Edwards and Anthony Romero on domestic spying.

Mickey Edwards photo by Robin Holland
On the need for impeachment: On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any president has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools. They don't give them up. The only way we take tools out of that box is if we sanction George Bush and Dick Cheney now and say the next president cannot govern as these men have.

Watch the discussion with John Nichols and Bruce Fein about the importance of impeachment.

Melissa Harris Lacewell photo by Robin Holland
On the pursuit of happiness: "What does it mean to say that as Americans we have in our founding documents the idea of the pursuit of happiness? And although Thomas Jefferson may have meant to have said property and was made not to say it because of the problem of slavery, we end up with pursuit of happiness in our documents. Does that mean that we expect that citizens have a right to not only have kind of basic, human structural questions, but also a right to fulfillment, the capacity to be sort of all of who they are as human beings? And if so, how do our notions of race end up constraining human beings from being all that they, you know, really want to fully be as persons?"

Watch the rest of Bill Moyers' conversation with Melissa Harris Lacewell.

Clive James photo by Robin Holland
On liberalism and terror: "There's something about the creative force of liberal democracy which gives you hope that it can overcome any challenge including terrorism. I'm sure terrorism can punch very large holes in western civilization and probably will — let's be fatalistic. Yeah, it's very, very hard to stop a bomber who's ready to kill himself. But there's also every reason to think that civilization is simply too strong to be brought down by terrorist activity."

Watch the full interview with media critic Clive James.
References and Reading:
Sunlight Foundation
"The Sunlight Foundation's INSANELY USEFUL WEBSITES is a list of helpful web tools for government oversight."

Accountability
Common Cause
"Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest."

Public Citizen's CONGRESS WATCH
"Congress Watch champions consumer interests before the U.S. Congress. We seek to preserve citizen access to the courts to redress corporate harm and negligence. We also work to ensure that Congress represents citizens by exposing the harmful impact of money in politics and fighting for an improved democracy."

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Campaign Desk
"The Project On Government Oversight follows a rich tradition of assuring that the government continues to work for the people it represents. Our nation was founded on the very principle that representation and accountability are fundamental to maintaining a strong and functioning democracy."

Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy
"The FAS Project on Government Secrecy works to promote public access to government information and to illuminate the apparatus of government secrecy, including national security classification and declassification policies. The Project also publishes previously undisclosed or hard-to-find government documents of public policy interest, as well as resources on intelligence policy."

Civil Liberties & Privacy
The American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU's stated mission is to preserve the protections afforded to US citizens by the Bill of Rights and 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th amendments.

The Federalist Society
"The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. "

The Center for Constitutional Rights
"The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

The Center for Constitutional Rights
"EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values."

Federal Budget
Public Agenda on the federal budget
"The federal government is facing difficult decisions about its finances, with a growing national debt and long-term fiscal problems that could seriously undercut the nation's prosperity."

OMB Watch
"OMB Watch exists to increase government transparency and accountability; to ensure sound, equitable regulatory and budgetary processes and policies; and to protect and promote active citizen participation in our democracy."

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
"The purpose of TRAC is to provide the American people — and institutions of oversight such as Congress, news organizations, public interest groups, businesses, scholars and lawyers — with comprehensive information about staffing, spending, and enforcement activities of the federal government."

Related Media:
Rick Karr on government secrecy
Are muckrakers and whistleblowers facing insurmountable odds?

Government Oversight
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL examines the reality of waste and abuse of power in Washington with a look at the investigations being conducted by Congress's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


Debt Dilemma
Does America's $9 trillion federal debt mean we are mortgaging our future and jeopardizing individual savings, healthcare, and retirement for generations to come? Bill Moyers gets a reality check from Public Agenda's Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson, co-authors of WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?: YOUR GUIDED TOUR TO THE FEDERAL BUDGET CRISIS.

David Cay Johnston
Bill Moyers interviews NEW YORK TIMES investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Cay Johnston who says America's system has been rigged to benefit the super-rich.

MOYERS on 2008
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTS EMAIL US